Sarah Harian on Eight Will Fall

Sarah grew up in the foothills of Yosemite. She received her B.A. in English Education and M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Fresno State University. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her dog and will likely (hopefully) be a West Coaster for life. She also has a fondness for hiking, open world RPGs, adventure novels, and sharing a wonderful meal with equally wonderful people. 

What inspired you to write EIGHT WILL FALL?

I love horror-fantasy and have been wanting to write one for a while. I was inspired by the movie The Descent and Season 1 of Stranger Things. I also love video games with really intricate dungeons. Skyrim in particular really helped me shape the world of Demura and what lies beneath it. There are even a few Skyrim easter eggs in the book!

Did you have to do any special research for EIGHT WILL FALL?

I read a lot of novels based in cavern systems to get a feel for how authors handled atmosphere. I also had to research older methods of mining and smelting, since Larkin is a miner and often interprets her magic using mining or metalworking metaphors. 

Describe EIGHT WILL FALL in 5 words.

Bloody, adventurous, creepy, claustrophobic, magical

Can you tell us about your writing process? 

My process has changed a lot over the past ten years, and it’s even changed since writing Eight Will Fall. As of now, I first figure out my inciting event, midpoint, and ending. Then, I write a single sentence within each chapter (not a summary, but an actual draft sentence). I’ll map out the whole book like this, using about five sentences to direct the arc of each chapter, and then write a very rough draft “connecting the dots.” On my rewrite, I’ll have a checklist of themes and character arcs and work on each thread individually. 

What was your favourite scene to write and why? 

I really liked writing the third quarter of the book, because this is where most of the twists happen and truths are revealed, and things start to get really scary and weird. 

Did you listen to any particular songs/playlists whilst you wrote this?

I listened to the score for Transformers: The Last Knight on repeat. I’m a huge Steve Jablonsky fan and this score fit Eight Will Fall perfectly.

When you write, do you have any go-to snacks? If so, what are they?

I make myself little charcuterie plates with cheese, salami, olives, pickles, and almonds that I can eat slowly while drafting. Having snack variety is just as important as having snacks! 

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Everything. Sometimes, my stories manifest on their own without me putting in a whole lot of effort. My characters take charge and I’m just along for the ride. Eight Will Fall was not that kind of story. That being said, I learned so much from the challenges presented to me while writing it, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. 

What can you tell us about the next book you are writing?

I’m almost finished with revising a YA scifi-horror about a girl who lives on a space station. She gets into an accident and when she wakes up, all of the crew are dead or missing, and she must figure out what happened in order to survive. It’s been a delight to write and I’m really excited to finish it. 

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